For a team with no seniors, a team with key players battling injuries, a team that ranks last in the Horizon League in scoring, a team with two freshmen playing major minutes and two other newcomers being counted on every game, a 5-3 record doesn’t sound too bad.
There’s no doubt Wright State has exceeded some expectations one month in the season, but its early play during a 3-0 start raised expectations.
With three losses in their last five games, the Raiders have come back to earth a little bit, but they’re still in a good position and have shown signs of being a team that will be fun to watch all season.
However, that wasn’t the case Monday when they scored a season-low 41 points in a 54-41 loss at Bowling Green.
“As I told the guys after the game, their two seniors wanted to win the game more than anybody else wanted to win the game,” coach Billy Donlon said Thursday. “That was (A’uston) Calhoun and (Jordon) Crawford. Their play showed that. That was the difference in the game on Monday. It is hard when you hold a team to 35 percent shooting from the floor and 54 points and lose. You’re playing relatively hard. Just offensively, we were anemic, and that’s got to get better.”
The Raiders have scored 60 points or fewer in six of their eight games. They will almost assuredly top 60 and maybe even set a season high in scoring in Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against Virginia Military Institute (4-5), a team that plays a lot of offense and little defense.
It will be a game of contrasting styles. VMI ranks sixth in the country in scoring, and Wright State ranks 315th. Wright State ranks 13th in the country in scoring defense, and VMI ranks 339th.
Meanwhile, injuries continue to plague the Raiders. Cole Darling injured his shoulder in practice Wednesday, and Donlon said he will be a game-time decision Saturday. AJ Pacher has been battling a foot injury. He hasn’t been practicing, but played 6 minutes against Bowling Green. Pacher said he was going to sit until Dec. 30 against Mount St. Joseph’s, but Darling’s injury means he will play Saturday.